(CNSNews.com) - Not one Afghan army unit was able to operate independent of U.S.-led coalition troops as of September 2010, according to assessments by NATO’s international force highlighted in a government report.
Nevertheless, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama maintained that
Developing the Afghan National Army (ANA) is essential for the transition of security tasks to
The U.S.-led counterterrorism efforts in
“The Afghan government and international community have set an objective of having the Afghan army and police lead and conduct security operations in all Afghan provinces by the end of 2014,” the report stated, which was released on Jan. 27 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “As of September 2010, no
Approximately two-thirds of the Afghan army “were assessed as effective with some form of limited coalition support,” the report added.
According to the GAO, a unit is rated as being able to operate independently when it is “capable of planning, executing, and sustaining the full spectrum of its missions without assistance from coalition forces.”
Without providing specifics, NATO’s international force said “it will take considerable time” for the Afghan army to operate independently of coalition forces, the GAO further stated.
“In order for
The GAO mentioned that some of the challenges the NATO and U.S.-led Afghan training mission and transition command are facing in developing the Afghan army include a low literacy rate, high desertion rates, absenteeism, lack of equipment, and a shortage of trainers and qualified leaders to lead the Afghan forces.
As CNSNews.com has previously reported, the GAO noted that 86 percent of Afghan army recruits are illiterate, creating a key challenge for the
The Afghan training mission and transition command revealed that as of August 2010 “about 14 percent of
Mandatory literacy training “with the goal of enabling trainees to write their names and record serial numbers” has been incorporated into ANA’s basic training to help alleviate the illiteracy challenge.
Additional literacy training is also provided to bring students to a third-grade literacy level with a focus on
Nevertheless, the GAO pointed out that the commanding general of the Afghan training mission and transition command has stated that “educating the entire ANA to the level needed” to operate independent of coalition forces “will take time and sustained effort.”
Regarding, a shortage of qualified soldiers, the GAO reported, “The
As far as the shortage of personnel needed to train the Afghan forces, the GAO stated that documentation from the U.S.-led Afghan training mission “specifies that 1,495 instructors are needed to train the ANA as it grows to 171,600. However, as of November 2010, about 18 percent (275 of 1,495) of instructor positions were unfilled and lacked pledges to fill them.”
Despite the challenges, the GAO noted that the Afghan Army has “expanded rapidly, largely meeting or surpassing monthly force generation targets.”
However, the number of soldiers leaving the
Afghan army soldiers not showing up for duty has also proven to be a challenge to developing the ANA as planned.
Data from NATO’s international force revealed that “from January to September 2010, on average, over a quarter of the ANA was absent during any given month.”